Itís No Time to Abandon Ship
The captain of the Italian liner Costa Concordia abandoned ship soon after realizing that the vessel was listing dangerously. During questioning by magistrates, Captain Francesco Schettino claimed that he fell into a lifeboat while investigating the state of the ship. Later he refused appeals from the Coast Guard to return on board in order to save passengers. "You go aboard. It is an order. Don't make any more excuses. You have declared 'abandon ship'. Now I am in charge. You go on board! Is that clear? Do you hear me?Ē
I was stupefied as I watched all this. How could a ship's captain do such a thing? But then I asked myself, ďAre we Christians any different?Ē Will you and I do our duty as Christians to tell the world about Jesus? Or will we make excuses?
The mission of the church is world evangelization. In Mark 16:15 our Lord commands us, "Go into the entire world and preach the Good News to every person." Nothing could be clearer: Go everywhere and tell everyone. The Great Commission leaves us no option. Our first task as local churches is to extend the kingdom of God to every nation on earth, including our own. Everything else must be subordinate to that cause. Every time we are considering a new plan or a new program or a new building we must ask the test question of every decision: Is this helping to fulfill the Great Commission on this earth or not?
Today every evangelical church stands at the crossroads on the question of priorities. Will we surrender to the spirit of the age, or will we join the company of the committed? Will we make a deliberate decision to accept sacrifice and suffering for the sake of Christ, or will we continue the pattern of extravagance and waste that has become the norm of our evangelical subculture? Jesus said, "I did not come to be served but to serve and to give my life as a ransom for many." Jesus lived for the Great Commission. Should we not also?
Demas had to choose between Paul and this world (2 Tim. 4:10), and he chose the world. This is a choice that every Christian, every church, has to make. In Matthew 9:35-38 we see that Jesus went and went and went to all the cities and villages, teaching, preaching, and healing. Wherever He went He left a trail of blessing. This same Jesus lives in all of us who know Him. This ought to make a difference.
I encourage all of us to go ďall outĒ for Jesus. He deserves it. Let the dead bury the dead. Itís time to get back on board this ship we call missions. Itís time to set a straight course looking straight ahead.
January 27, 2012
David Alan Black is the editor of www.daveblackonline.com.